It was bound to happen sooner or later. A first race blowout, opposing a fancied runner. Yesterday, the 'wrong' joint favourite won, and that was that. At least the banker of the meeting, Royal Empress, won well. Her early price of 11/4 contracted to 2/1 at the off, and backers had few worries. The other banker, Trading Leather, also won. Blah blah, whatever. To today, and Southwell's jumps card tonight.
6.10 - Leg 1: This looks best left to consistent Peak Seasons and talented Midnight Macarena.
Strongbows Legend probably bleeds. He stops so quickly in some of his races and has a lot of P's to his name. But he will take this field along and he could thin them out as he has done in his last two starts. I'd not be confident of that, and he only makes B, but he's a player if he can tough it out.
Global Flyer could also go close.
A - 4 (Midnight Macarena), 8 (Peak Seasons)
B - 3 (Strongbows Legend), 5 (Global Flyer)
6.40 - Leg 2: More moderate stuff, and I'm going to take a banker chance with the course and distance specialist, Apache Dawn. His record round here is excellent - see today's Stat of the Day - and he ought to again go very close.
A - 5 (Apache Dawn)
7.10 - Leg 3: A maiden hurdle for dodgepots, it would seem, and the pick of an unreliable peck might be Now Then Charlie. The Ferguson team had been in poor form all winter, but with the faster ground they've improved bundles, and this fellow should go close. Azure Fly will need to win without coming under pressure probably, and is but is included in case; but the bottom one, Barney Rubble, has been beaten far enough twice. Bollin Sam has some scope to improve but shouldn't be troubling Charlie today.
A - 1 (Azure Fly), 4 (Now Then Charlie)
7.40 - Leg 4: This revolves around Rosie Probert, but Hendo's horses are not exactly flying at the moment. Still, she'll be hard to keep out of the frame and I'll take her, along with Brassbound, who has the best form. Not much else appeals, but Redoute Star could go well on his first hurdling start.
A - 1 (Brassbound), 6 (Rosie Probert)
B - 3 (Redoute Star)
8.10 - Leg 5: Lots in here with some sort of a chance, and I'll be playing the race accordingly. Tinseltown has an obvious chance but is no 13/8 shot in here. He's escaped a penalty for a win in a conditional jockey's race over course and distance last time, but this is a stronger race. He goes on A, but not alone.
The Tiddly Tadpole has been off the jumps course for 220 days, but he's had a couple of flat track sighters for this and should be fit enough as a consequence. He goes well on good ground, has won off a two pound lower mark, and Harry Derham's five pound claim makes him effectively three pounds lower than his last winning rating.
Tamarillo Grove is more of a speculative. Sophie Leech is a well respected trainer, and that - coupled with cash for this fellow - sees him onto my B list. He'll be joined there by Phil Middleton's Trip The Light, a horse which has an excellent win record and has dropped a long way down the handicap since his last victory a year ago. Two miles and good ground should be within his compass, and it'd be no surprise were he to notch win number fifteen of a fine career.
A - 1 (The Tiddly Tadpole), 7 (Tinseltown)
B - 6 (Trip The Light), 8 (Tamarillo Grove)
8.40 - Leg 6: A messy old seven runner handicap hurdle. Lucy Wadham's Daliance has been given a chance by the handicapper and, despite being a swerve for the win, looks hard to keep out of the frame. Just two places mean I'm going deeper here, and I'll add ballast with Chargen and Jewel In The Sun. It's a nasty old race to finish, and I'm far from confident I've found a placed horse in that trio's midst, so we'll need luck to be on our side this time.
A - 2 (Chargen), 6 (Daliance), 7 (Jewel In The Sun)
Just A's - 2 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 3 = 48 bets
All picks - 4 x 1 x 2 x 3 x 4 x 3 = 288 bets
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